Michelle Obama, speaking at a swearing-in ceremony for newly naturalized citizens on Wednesday, spoke to the value of immigration in shaping America as a nation. Her words, no doubt, we’re not only intended for the new citizens in attendance, but for a far larger audience.
“In many ways it is because of – not in spite of – our immigrant population that we grow stronger every single day,” she said.
President Barack Obama has fallen under fire as of late from both ends of the political spectrum. As more and more unaccompanied children and undocumented immigrants pour across the southern border of the United States than ever before, Republicans have criticized the president’s lack of action in securing the borders. Meanwhile, the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed through the Senate last year has stalled in the GOP-led House, bringing pressure from the left for Barack Obama to use his executive authority to expedite its passing.
The ceremony being presided over by the First Lady involved the formal granting of citizenship to 50 individuals from over a dozen countries, and took place in the National Archives Rotunda. Standing near copies of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, Michelle Obama reiterated her and her husband’s support for immigration reform and attempted to explain the stagnation.
“Today, here in Washington, folks are still debating whether or not to fix our immigration system, even though just about everyone agrees that it is broken,” she said as the ceremony drew to a close. “I want you all to know that my husband has made this his top legislative priority because, at the end of the day, this fight isn’t just about principles, it’s about real people.”
Indeed, immigration reform seems to be near (if not at) the top of the presidential agenda. With hundreds of unaccompanied children crossing our borders each day, Vice President Joe Biden is set to meet with high-ranking officials in Central America this Friday to discuss possible courses of action.